Shop Q&A – Face Vise Location

I’m building a bench/cabinet for the shop with the intention of having a bench for planing; my assembly table doesn’t have dogs and doesn’t have enough clearance for a face vice.

So, my question: I’m right handed and have the board to the right of me when planing.  Where’s the face vice go for edge planing?  Is it on the right side of the bench (hence, at the beginning of the stroke) or on the left side (end of stroke)?  I could see putting it on the left to get it out of the way except when planing and using a jack board on the right side, and I have provisions for jack board holes.  If the choice is arbitrary, do you see a down side to putting it on the left, thus, out of the way for most bench work?


My vise is on the front left side of the benchHey, Paul, thanks for the question.  Of course, where you place the vise is your own decision, but I think that you’ll find the traditional place is on the corner opposite of your main hand.  In your case (and mine), it’s gonna be on the left side of the bench front.  Basically, you want to push the plane toward where the vise is located.  This way, a board jack merely has to support the work, while you get the gripping power and most support from the vise at the end of the push.

I’ve seen people put two vises on the front of their bench, but that’s overkill.  Just get a solid face vise, shoulder vise or leg vise and crank down on that sucker.  You’ll be happy…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.